Article Type

Original Study


Objective The aim of the study was to assess the predictive value of interleukin 28B (IL-28B) rs12979860 polymorphism in the response to interferon (IFN)/ribavirin (RBV) therapy in hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients and the allele frequencies of this gene in HCV patients as compared with healthy controls. Background HCV infection, one of the major causes of liver disease worldwide, is highly prevalent in Egypt, with a predominance of HCV genotype 4. The standard of care for chronic HCV infection consists of treatment with pegylated interferon-a plus ribavirin (PegIFN/RBV), which is prolonged and costly and is associated with dose-limiting side effects, increasing the need for accurate prediction of treatment failure. IL-28B gene polymorphism has been shown to be related to HCV treatment response, mainly in genotype 1. Patients and methods This study included 130 HCV-positive Egyptian patients treated with IFN/RBV therapy. They were divided into three groups according to their response to therapy. Group I included 70 patients with sustained viral response (SVR). Group II included 49 patients with no response. Group III included 11 patients with relapse, and group IV included 40 healthy controls. Liver function tests, complete blood count, evaluation of viral markers, HCV-RNA by PCR, and evaluation for IL-28B single nucleotide polymorphisms for rs12979860 were performed by PCR-RFLP in all patients. Results IL-28B genotype CC was present in 34.6% of patients, whereas CT and TT genotypes were detected in 42.3 and 23.1% of patients, respectively. Seventeen (53.8%) patients achieved an SVR, whereas 60 (46.2%) did not. Of the 70 patients with an SVR, 38 had genotype CC, 25 had genotype CT, and seven had genotype TT. Patients having the CC genotype achieved significantly higher SVR rates (84.4%) compared with CT (45.5%) and TT patients (23.3%). Conclusion The IL-28B polymorphism is an independent predictor of SVR to PegIFN/RBV in Egyptian HCV-positive patients with genotype 4.